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2 June, 2000

Full Steam Ahead!

June 2, Friday

"Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink!"

This was the lament of the shipwrecked sailors in the poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as they were cast adrift in the salty sea. Surrounded by water, they nevertheless died of thirst because the ocean water wasn't fit to drink. Their dilemma is shared by all sailors who are at sea for long stretches at a time.

Since the Healy is like a floating city, it has to take care of many of the things that we take for granted at home. When we need a drink of water, we just go to the faucet without worrying that we might be out of water. Where do you think the Healy gets it water?

If you guessed "seawater", you're right! But how can you get the salt out of the water so that it is potable (fit to drink)?

You can try this experiment at home. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to 1/2 cup of water. Stir until the salt dissolves. Now pour the solution into a flat tray and place it in a warm location. Come back a few days later. What happened to the water? To the salt?

On the Healy fresh water is produced in much the same way. Seawater is pumped into large tanks on the ship. The evaporation process is speeded up by heating the water. As the water evaporates, the steam is cooled and collected as fresh water while the salt that is left behind is washed back out to sea. This process is called "distilling". The fresh, distilled water has many uses around the ship.

On the Healy we go through about 4,000 to 6,000 gallons of water daily. The boiler uses about 500 gallons and the rest is used for showers, drinking, and cooking. The drinking water is treated with chlorine just like they do at the water treatment plants in your towns. Our doctor on the Healy tests the water each day to make sure that it is safe for drinking.

Will we ever run out of water? Itís very unlikely! When working to full capacity, the Healy could make up to 12,000 gallons of water each day using power produced by the four engines on board. To find out more about these powerful engines, click on Susan's page:

Susanís Entry Today.

DAILY DATA LOG (6/02/00):

Air Temperature: 12 degrees C / 52 degrees F

Clear skies, sunny

Latitude 47N

Longitude 52W


This is one of the boilers on the Healy.


There are pipes exposed in the ceilings. They have no tiles to cover them. It doesn't look quite as nice, but it's easier to fix leaks when pipes are exposed. Since they are all labeled, everyone knows what is flowing through each pipe.


These are pipes carrying saltwater. They are labeled on the outside.


This is the evaporator for the Healy.


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